Thursday, 21 April 2011

Cancellara vs Gilbert - comparable?

Everybody has been talking about Gilbert's dominance in the classics this spring. Understandable since he is a fenomenal rider, who really is one of cycling's hope in these troubled times. Some has said Gilbert's dominance is like Cancellara edition 2010. I can perfectly well understand why someone said that, however they are two very different riders.

Cancellara - brute force

Fabian is all brute force. He showed that winning the E3 this year, litterally riding people off his wheel. Mighty impressive. Same way he demolished the peloton last year in Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. TT'ing the last 50 km to the velodrome in Roubaix with three-four of the strongest cyclists in the world not catching you? That's panache. That is also his Achilles heel, that's all he got to play with, that and a superstrong desire to win. Now, before you get mad at me, allow me to add that I'm a great fan of Cancellara and his style.
This year has so far proved Fabian a bit wrong. If it is allowed to say that about his season so far. A podium in one the major classics is an amazing achievement, and Cancellara has done this twice. 
It seems that his advantage finally has been unveiled. A strong team working against him can make him win second place instead of number one, Paris-Roubaix 2011 is an example of just that tactic.

Gilbert - the punchy climber

A totally different rider, but still manages to get the results. And some results he's got so far. What I find interesting is that Gilbert controls a race way different than Cancellara. For one he has a wider spectre to rely on, beside having a stronger classics team he climbs well, he sprints and he clearly is in shape. What is equally important, in my eyes, is his flair for tactics. The way he reads a race really make the difference between him and others. Combined with a panache the same, if not more, of Fabian's; there is your rider of the month.

I don't know about you but I will be glued in front of my TV or computer during Liège-Bastonne-Liège, this is a race I don't want to miss, and who knows, will Gilbert make the triple?


  1. I am very new to all this but i did notice that both riders are about the same this when cyclists typically peak? And if so, who are the pretenders to the Crown?

  2. Hi Ash; Yes, cyclists peak quite late, most say just after 30, others later. I depends a bit on what races you focus on too. The cobbled classics are very long, and it takes many years to build up enough stamina to master them. Fleche is quite short with it's 201 km, potensially more people in the final to assist the punchy climbers.

    Who to take over? Hard to say. There are many and it depends on whether they get the proper training. Sagan, EBH, Phinney for the classics are just some og the hungry pack.